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Happy Mango: Where Caribbean cuisine meets local

'Happy Mango had to evolve over the years to provide a service and product that was missing in Barrie,' says owner

A traditional butchery and Caribbean grocery, and a spot for West Indian food since 2004, the Happy Mango has built a reputation in Barrie for serving premium cuts of meat and providing great service.

“Our butcher counter offers only AAA and prime beef, and also free-run, air-chilled poultry,” butcher shop owner Daren Rahim proudly tells BarrieToday.

While explaining why Happy Mango has been around for nearly 20 years, Rahim noted that the shop had to pivot since ethnic groceries are no longer simply focused on supplying foods from one particular country or region anymore.

“Happy Mango had to evolve over the years to provide a service and product that was missing in Barrie," he says. 

As most large chains have filled ethnic voids to target diverse populations, Happy Mango expanded to include locally sourced, meats, honey, and fresh produce straight from the farm.

“Today, we offer more local products that wouldn't get shelf space in supermarkets and regular grocery stores,” says Rahim, mentioning that he hasn’t seen a growing demand for ethnic items in Barrie right now.

However, authentic food-seekers will enjoy the hot table options served at the front section of the store. Whether for a quick lunch or pick-up dinner, customers will find freshly made dishes such as curry chicken with roti and jerk chicken with rice, Jamaican patties, and curries on flat bread.

For those who have not tried West Indian food, Rahim says they will be pleased with the delicious and richly flavoured offerings from the kitchen.

“We keep it simple and fresh always. It’s the old-fashioned West Indian recipe, but with a twist,” he says with a tease.

Filling the shelves are a variety of West Indian and Latin foods and beverages. These include unique spices, local barbecue and marinade sauces, seasoning mixes, as well as imported and homemade dressings. Fresh tropical produce is also available, including avocado, yam, beans, bananas, and more.

It's all very neat and tidy, and the staff are friendly and helpful in assisting shoppers in finding products.

Looking back, Rahim believes the good customer service partly explains the ongoing success of Happy Mango for so long.

“We build personal connections,” he says. “We believe in offering a better product for a better price. And after 18 years, our customers trust us to provide just that.”

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The Happy Mango is at 237 Mapleview Dr. E., off Huronia Road, in Barrie's south end.